K-W candidates face the public

Waterloo Region Record editorial page editor and forum moderator John Roe introduced all the candidates meeting this past Monday night as an, “important opportunity to get to know [Kitchener-Waterloo] candidates better.” Representatives from the Liberal, Progressive Conservative, Green and NDP parties, as well an independent candidate had an hour and a half to try and prove to the people of K-W why they were the best representative for the job.

Each spokesperson opened the floor with statements of optimism such as Green Party candidate J.D McGuire’s proclamation that, “good enough isn’t good enough anymore,” or NDP candidate Isabel Cisterna proclaiming that it’s time to “put people first.”

By far, the most original statement came from Peter Davis of the independent party when he said, “I don’t pretend to be an expert on all issues. I thought if I were to run without a platform, I would be a candidate you could vote for without pretending to know about politics.”

The other candidates, such as Progressive Conservative leader Elizabeth Witmer, commented on Davis’s ideas as, “very refreshing and I applaud him. I’ve seen him out there canvassing and you know what? I think you’re a very enthusiastic person— kudos to you.”

Liberal leader Eric Davis said that, “obviously, the key to this election is to vote Davis.”

Many questions were posed to the candidates throughout the evening, ranging from their plans to keep Waterloo as a world innovative hub, bully prevention methods and job-loss prevention plans.

A hot topic Monday night was the issue of Canadian debt. David of Kitchener specifically focused on Eric Davis when he asked, “why should we believe anything your party says?”

This question was asked because of the HST tax implemented by Dalton McGuinty. Davis’s response was quite passionate as he leaned towards the microphone and explained that, “the introduction of the HST was all about job creation. We need to make sure we keep Ontario globally competitive.”

“And let’s be clear,” he continued. “Neither the Tories or the NDP are going to repeal or get rid of the HST. But what we’ve done is, as part of introducing the HST, it was also part of our tax reform package. And what that did was actually reduce personal income taxes for nine out of ten Ontarians.”

Witmer almost seemed to roll her eyes at the liberal plan and said, “We’re going to drop the ‘H’ off of HST. [The PCs] have a fully costed plan to start reducing the debt because right now we’re paying $10.3 billion to service that debt. We also have a plan for small and medium sized business to encourage private sector job creation.”

It was Peter Davis who took a stand against Witmer and shared his doubts of the conservative plan with the crowd, and briefly mentioned his own.

“I have to be honest here, regarding the PC platform, I have my doubts. I don’t believe that more consumption is the way that we produce more economy.” Davis said. “The way you produce more is investment. We have to make sacrifices now. As we save our money we can invest in new economy. “

Later in the evening, Wilfrid Laurier student Drew Redding took the microphone and directed his question at Elizabeth Witmer.

“If elected again on Oct. 6, do you promise Waterloo that you will serve a full term and not step down to let your son Scott run in the by-election?”

This question elicited laughter and applause from the audience as they awaited Witmer’s response.

Witmer seemed to share the humour as well, though she denied the rumor. “I will serve a four year term and I will serve another after that.” she said. “There is a lot of work that needs to be done and I will continue to work for our community as long as I am able to.”